Does Jonas Jerebko deserve to start? - what the numbers say

Jonas Jerebko is shooting .750 from deep over the last eleven games, and .485 on the year.

Three of the next four best shooters on the Boston Celtics' roster with at least one three-point attempt per game (Jae Crowder [.400], Avery Bradley [.398], and Al Horford [.390]) are starters, who, along with Kelly Olynyk (.391) and Terry Rozier (.354), are all shooting above league-average (.352) from beyond the arc.

When it comes to efficiency, only Crowder (.597) has a higher effective field goal percentage (EFG) among players logging significant (at least fifteen minutes per game) floor time, and only Rozier has fewer turnovers among such players. When you adjust for the fact Jerebko is only playing about 17.4 minutes per game, and compare his per-36 minute projections, Jonas would be the team's third-best rebounder at 7.7 per game, behind only Tyler Zeller (9.4) and Bradley (8.1).

He'd also be the team's fifth-best player in both blocks and steals based on per-36 projections, fourth on the team in true shooting percentage (TS%), fifth in offensive rebound percentage (ORB%), third in defensive (DRB%) and total rebound percentage (TRB%), fifth in steal percentage (STL%), third in block percentage (BLK%), is ranked between 7th and 5th on the team across the various win shares metrics, fourth in defensive box plus/minus (DBPM), and sixth in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP).

So, given all this, why isn't Jerebko starting? Granted, you can't just pick one metric (for example, three-point percentage) and structure your starting line-up around the five best shooters you have - you also need rebounding, assists, scoring, rim protection et cetera - but Jonas is top-five across many metrics, and looks better than many of the players who he could replace from three to five.

He rebounds better than Olynyk now, and likely would beat Johnson if given the run. He shoots better than either from anywhere on the floor, and even challenges Crowder on both ends of the floor. Previously, we suggested moving Jonas to the starting lineup at small forward to create matchup nightmares for other teams, but he could also plug into Amir's starting role, letting Johnson and Olynyk effectively duplicate the dynamic created by the better-shooting and more mobile duo of Horford and Crowder on the first unit.

Good things seem to happen when you're so dedicated you put a gym in the basement of your house - and with Amir seemingly on a slow decline, Coach Brad Stevens should let the Swedish Larry Bird (by the way, happy 60th, Larry!) get the run he deserves.

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Phot courtesy of Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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